Runtime: 1 Hour
and 34 Minutes
"A Christmas Story" is a rare gem, something whose brilliance
wasn't recognized at first, but has grown on us for years on end until
it has become impossible to find someone who hasn't seen it. Go ahead,
I dare ya
The movie stars Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, a little boy who desperately
wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Melinda Dillon, the mother,
tells him what he doesn't want to hear: "You'll shoot your eye
out!" He'll hear this from a lot of people in the course of the
movie, but he's determined.
It's hard to pinpoint a plot here. It's more like a bunch of chance
occurrences that add up to a fun time. Ralphie will envision saving
his family with his new gun, he'll envision getting an A on his Christmas
theme in class, he'll do his best to fight off local bullies.
There's more. Kids get into trouble. Ralphie will get into a fight,
accidentally utter the F-word and be part of a dare that results in
the movie's biggest laugh, although not all at once. And when he gets
his mouth washed out with soap, he envisions a revenge of sorts that's
The movie is loaded with interesting little characters. Ralph's brother
Randy is one of those kids who would rather play with food than eat
it. He also has the unfortunate trouble of trying to get to school
while wearing ten layers of clothing. Ralph's "Old Man"
is one of those not-too-bright guys who thinks he knows it all. There's
an encounter with Santa Claus and his elves, and none of them seem
too merry. There's a creepy kid in line who offers unengaging talk.
There are a lot of funny scenes. The neighbors' dogs seem to show
up at the worst times. The Old Man will win a prize that the mother
hates and quite possibly eliminates. Ralphie will use his Orphan Annie
to decode a message that may be crucial to all of civilization...or
not. And Ralphie will open a gift that will bring him the ultimate
Perhaps the biggest testament to this movie is that it's worked itself
up the ladder and now sits proudly alongside Christmas classics like
"It's A Wonderful Life"
and "Miracle On 34th Street." Feel free to debate all you
like, but pound for pound, this movie gets more screen time per holiday
season than anything else. I'd be willing to bet the house on it.
It says a lot that a relatively-modern Christmas movie gets so much
recognition at Christmas time.
"A Christmas Story" is loaded with those little moments
that make you smile. Some of them hit home, and others are just there
for laughs. It's fun, it's light and it's innocent. It's a GREAT Christmas